Words by Rosie Cattrell
While each of us are unique in how we live our lives and the ways in which we seek happiness, the same goes for what makes up the perfect retreat from which we can escape the stretch of day-to-day life. Where some of us look for quiet exploration or culinary discoveries, others seek wild adventure and ways in which to push the limit, but how often do we come across a place that can accommodate the desires of an entire group, each with a different idea of paradise?
Watergate Bay Hotel, tucked into a cove on the very edge of Cornish waters, is certainly one of those places. The team’s vision to help guests find a balance in life flows throughout the hotel, offering chances to get active and immerse yourself in natural elements, whilst relishing those little moments of luxury and relaxation, ultimately adding up to a dream escape. Originally built in 1904, the hotel has come a long way since then, and has been re-imagined as a blissful beach retreat, blending laid-back living with food culture and an adventurous lifestyle.
Taking pride in surprising and delighting guests at every opportunity, you could certainly say that things are done a little differently at the Bay. With an aim to create different spaces and places for people from all walks of life, whether that’s couples, young families, those with teenagers and multiple generations, even walkers, solo travellers, adventure seekers and those with a four-legged friend tagging along, the team want everyone to find a home from home here, somewhere to sit back and relax after a day of activity, making those all-important memories to treasure for years to come.
With the beach right on the doorstep, the opportunities are endless all year round; whether flicking through the pages of a favourite book in the summer sunshine on the warm sand sounds like heaven to you, or starting off the day right with a run across the endless stretch of coastline, or even a leisurely walk on an evening before the sun sets. Naturally, surfing is at the top of the list for many visitors to Watergate Bay. Seasoned surf addicts and salt-water beginners alike are catered for with lessons and equipment from the hotel’s partners at Wavehunters, with the convenience of hot showers and changing rooms right on the beach.
Where a ski holiday might offer scenes of snowy mountains, here the vista is replaced with jaw-dropping views of the endless ocean stretching out across the horizon, best enjoyed from the hotel’s seven new ocean-view beach lofts. Think wide-angle views of the rolling surf from the covers of your sumptuous bed, freestanding baths with a floor-to-ceiling outlook over the water beside a glowing fire. Featuring hosted hospitality with ‘surf in, surf out’ access, these lofts are the pinnacle of beach-side accommodation, inviting guests to stay nearer to the water than has ever been possible in the Bay.
“The beach lofts are our best rooms,” says Founder and Executive Director, Will Ashworth. “They are sized very generously and the interior design represents our new approach to contemporary Cornish beach living. Most importantly though, all the suites have truly epic sea views and couldn’t be closer to the beach. You’ll literally be able to lie in the bath with the windows open, listen to the waves and feel the sun and wind on your face – while still being inside.” Matt Hulme, Director of Dynargh Design, the Cornwall-based company behind the loft’s designs, continues: “From an aesthetic point of view, our approach was: do nothing that distracts from the view. The lofts have some of the most impressive outlooks of any hotel in Cornwall. But the interiors also needed to have enough appeal in the winter, when it’s dark at 5pm, that feels warm, natural and enticing.”
Amongst 80 bedrooms, 22 family suites, four village family apartments and a selection of dog-friendly rooms, the lofts are a sparkling addition to the already impressive range of accommodation to be found at the hotel, with a level of service throughout that can only be described as first class.
Another element that draws guests from all around to the hotel’s doors is the tantalising culinary offering, and with no less than three restaurants on site, each guest is simply spoilt for choice. The Living Space infuses a mix of sofas and armchairs with banquet tables and a decked ocean-view terrace. From coffee, cream teas and cocktails to seasonal salads, hearty fillers or dinner for the kids, here you’re invited to find what’s right for you and settle in. At The Beach Hut, you’ll find considered food paired with care-free dining and a warm welcome, with an emphasis on local, seasonal produce and incorporating plant-based dishes for a sustainable take on the post-surf refuel.
Taking pride of place in its new location on the sea wall, Zacry’s continues to showcase beautiful food that reflects an ethos of elegant simplicity, shaped by provenance, place and perspective. The seasonally shifting three-course menu embraces the energy of the restaurant’s location, with the stories of the farmers and fisherman behind each dish at the fore. “We’re really excited to see what we can achieve in such a special space,” Will shares. “By moving our own restaurant to the Bay’s prime location, we can give every guest an oceanfront dining experience that’s the highlight of their stay. It’s a view all set for memory making and the ideal place to showcase what Cornwall has to offer.”
Perhaps the best way to make the most of the incredible food at the Bay is to take advantage of the all-too-tempting Taste of the Bay break: in one mid-week break, you can stay for three nights and eat in each of the three restaurants during your stay, simply pick your room and enjoy all that the hotel has to offer, from the food and drinks to the endless activities. Embrace the local surf culture, wake up with a yoga class on the beach, or indulge in a dip in the pool, wave watching from the shelter of warmer water. However you decide to enjoy Watergate Bay Hotel, you can rest assured that the team delight in accommodating everyone, no matter your idea of paradise.